3 Words To Eliminate From The DBAs Vocabulary (…and not only…)

March 29, 2016 Off By dianarobete

How we express ourselves affects not only how others perceive us but also our own behavior.
Some people don’t know how powerful the spoken word is. The words you use on a consistent basis, affect your mood and behavior. Some words in our vocabulary are more powerful than others. And some words are dis-empowering.
Next time you answer a technical question, make a conscious effort to eliminate these 3 words from your vocabulary, as a DBA: Think, Should, Hope.

How do you do that?

First of all, bring awareness to your language. Pay close attention to your thoughts and spoken word. Think before you speak! Tune in, and make note when and how often you use these words.
Once you are aware, decide to replace them. When you catch yourself using these words, correct yourself, even if you are in the middle of a conversation.
How do you get better at it? By practicing, the more you do it, the better you will get at catching yourself, and using the new words.
Let me give you some detail for each one, so you understand me better.

The word Think

To think is a great thing, it makes us humans, right? We use our brain to think. It is all good if you use the word in a context like “I am thinking how to fix this problem”.
However, take for example the following scenario. Imagine that you are in a meeting with the whole IT department, and you are the big shot in the company. You ask one of the DBAs to answer your question, which sounds like this:
“Will the change on Friday affect our critical application, and cause a major disruption of service?”
The DBA answers: “I think we should be fine. I think this change is not going to affect the critical application”
How confident do you feel in the DBA that gave you the answer? Would you have peace of mind on Friday, that the critical system will be available? Would you trust this person in the future?
In this context, the word “think” is not helping at all. It sure doesn’t project confidence. That is why, instead of using the word think, start using the word BELIEVE or KNOW. The new answer would sound like this:
“I believe the critical application will not be affected at all by the change” or “I know the critical application will not be affected at all by the change”.
When you use the word believe, you feel confident in yourself and you also exude confidence to others.

The word Should

This word definetely is not on my favorite list. I avoid it as much as possible, not just in my DBA vocabulary, but in any other conversation.
I hear this word all the time, in meetings, in coffee gatherings, in the lunch room. How things “should be”. This word is very dis-empowering, you feel powerless in front of it, because you feel you have no option or no choice to make a change.
There are a couple of words you could replace it with: “COULD”, “Next Time, I Will”. Let me give you some examples. Take this statement: “The backups should run at 21:00 every night” You
don’t even complete the sentence, and you already feel annoyed that the backups run in a different way, than how they were supposed to run. Now replace the word should: “The backup will
run at 21:00 every night, once I re-schedule them”
Does this sound better? Actually you are taking action to fix the problem, instead of feeling powerless in front of it.
Another example: “I should get 12c OCP Certified”. How do you feel when you say this? Don’t you feel un-motivated, because you already know you are not doing it, right? Now, replace the “should” with “could”. “I could get 12c OCP Certified, once I start studying for the exam.” or ” I could get 12c OCP Certified if I really wanted to”. When you use the word could, endless possibilities open up to you. You feel that you are in charge, you can do it or not, the choice is yours.

The word Hope

I love the word Hope, used in a context outside work.
Used in DBA conversations though, it is very disempowering. Let me ask you this: “Do you hope that the change you are deploying into production on Friday will be successful?” How much confidence do you project when you “hope” things will go well with a deployment.
In the DBA world, extend it to the IT world, hope is not a welcomed word. I cannot hope that things will go right, I need to have a process, I need to have testing in place, that will guarantee that the production deployment will go smoothly.
From now on, replace the word “hope” with “know” or “believe”. Your new version of the above statement would sound like this: “I know (because I have tested in the test environment and I have a process) that the production deployment will go smoothly.”

There you have it, for a more confident and powerful DBA, a more powerful version of you, replace think, should, hope, with believe, could, will do, and know!

See you next time on DBA Paradise, where the DBAs come to grow!